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What Is The Difference Between Prayer And Intercessory Prayer?

What Is The Difference Between Prayer And Intercessory Prayer

So you want to know the difference between plain ol’ prayer and intercessory prayer? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Both are incredibly important for connecting with God, but they do have some key differences.

I’m going to walk you through exactly what prayer and intercessory prayer are, the different types of each, and explain the main differences between talking to God in regular prayer versus standing in the gap for others through intercession. Get ready to understand this topic so well you could teach it yourself!

Defining Key Terms: What Is Prayer?

First, let’s clarify what prayer is. At its core, prayer is simply talking to God. It’s communicating with your Creator – whether through words, thoughts, or just sitting in His presence.

You can pray about absolutely anything and everything. Tell God how your day went, what’s on your mind, confess your sins, thank Him for blessings, ask for help or wisdom – the list goes on! Prayer is meant to be a continuous conversation between you and your Heavenly Father.

There are a few main types of prayer:

  • Worship: Praising God for who He is, singing songs of adoration to Him.
  • Repentance: Confessing your sins and shortcomings, asking for forgiveness.
  • Petition: Bring your requests and needs before God, asking for His help or intervention.
  • Listening: Quieting yourself to hear God’s voice and direction for your life.

So, prayer is casual communication with God fueled by your personal relationship with Him. It’s talking to your Abba Father about anything and everything.

Now, What Is Intercessory Prayer?

Intercessory prayer takes your conversation with God to the next level. It’s praying for OTHERS – standing in the gap between God and another person to earnestly seek breakthrough, healing, salvation, or justice on their behalf through focused, fervent prayer.

So an intercessor is someone who intervenes spiritually on someone else’s part through prayer. You plead to God on their behalf for His will to manifest in their life.

This kind of prayer requires an intense spiritual burden and passion. You zealously persevere in intercession until you get actual results – like seeing a lost loved one give their life to Christ or a sick child healed from cancer.

It’s deeply personal, sacrificial work that goes far beyond a casual chat with God. Intercessory prayer looks like violently colliding your prayers with God’s heart to birth His purposes on earth. It’s a wrestle and a war cry, not a mild request.

When you intercede for others, you stand in the gap as a priest between Heaven and Earth, joining forces with the Holy Spirit to unleash a breakthrough. He prays through you “with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26), directing you how to pray strategically until you witness God’s Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.

Aspects Of Regular Prayer

Now that we understand the basics of prayer and intercessory prayer, let’s expand more on what regular prayer looks like.

The Basis and Types of Regular Prayer

Regular prayer is grounded first and foremost in loving God. He wants us to pursue intimacy with Him simply for who He is, not just to get things from Him. Prayer allows us to build that intimate friendship by sharing what’s on our hearts.

There’s no need to use fancy religious language. Talk to God like you would your very best friend! Tell Him what made you happy today or what’s bothering you. Discuss your hopes, fears, dreams – He cares about it all!

The most common types of personal prayer include:

  • Worship: Worship fills our prayer time with songs, hymns, dancing, or anything else that expresses awe of God. Get creative in worship by writing your songs or poems to God!
  • Repentance: Bring your sin to the light. Confess ways you’ve fallen short and receive God’s complete forgiveness and healing. Repentance prayer maintains a right relationship with Him.
  • Petitions: Make your requests known to God! Ask Him to help you make wise decisions at school or work. Pray for provision, health needs, strained relationships – He wants us to come to Him with it all.
  • Listening: Make time to quiet your soul before God. Still, your thoughts and emotions to hear His gentle whispers that provide guidance only the Creator can give to His beloved child.

The Attitude and Approach of Regular Prayer

When you talk to God, bring an attitude characterized by humility, honesty, and trust. Don’t try to pretend to be someone you’re not – He knows you intimately already! Approaching prayer with authenticity fosters growth in your connection with Him.

Picture prayer as having a laid-back conversation with your Dad. Find a cozy spot, get comfortable, and share what’s been happening in your life. Ask Him questions, make requests, and listen for His responses. There doesn’t need to be a rigid formula – just be genuinely yourself!

Let your prayer flow freely from the heart in whatever form resonates most. God cares far more about your authenticity than perfectly constructed sentences. Some people enjoy journaling prayers, others pray best while taking a walk outdoors. Find what works for you!

What Does Intercessory Prayer Look Like?

Now we dive deeper into the complex, intense world of intercessory prayer! This is fighting spiritual battles on behalf of others through prayer.

The Role and Mindset of an Intercessor

Intercessors are prayer warriors who stand in gaping holes between God and humanity. Rather than praying just for themselves, they leverage their relationship with God to unleash breakthroughs for others.

This starts by hearing God’s heart for people and situations. As you listen closely, the Holy Spirit reveals where to intercede – giving you specific people, places, issues, and prayer strategies.

Then with passion and humility, you violently collide your prayers with Heaven until you witness God’s purposes birthed on earth. Romans 8:26 describes the Holy Spirit interceding through believers with wordless groans bringing Heaven’s will to earth.

Effective intercessory prayer requires embracing Christlike humility and sacrifice. Being an intercessor means setting aside personal comfort to wrestle intensely for others through prayer. You perseveringly plead for God’s intervention, sometimes even willing to lay down your own life if necessary so your prayers hit their mark.

The mindset shift is praying “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done” over people/situations rather than just bringing them before God and hoping something changes. The burden of intercession won’t let you rest until Heaven invades Earth.

The Process and Components of Intercessory Prayer

The first step is hearing from the Holy Spirit about needs requiring focused intercession. Ask Him to break your heart for what breaks His and tune your spiritual ears.

Then start interceding as the Spirit leads. He gives you prayer burdens, assignments, strategies, scriptures, decrees, action steps, and anything else needed to pray effectively until a breakthrough happens.

Common components of intercessory prayer include:

  • Crying out urgent, zealous prayers for others
  • Engaging spiritual warfare against evil forces influencing a person or region
  • Bringing your prayers into agreement with God’s Word and His promises
  • Listening for additional Holy Spirit direction
  • Persevering in intercession for days, weeks, months, or years
  • Making sacrificial offerings like fasting to undergird your prayers

The goal is to sustain intense prayers until Heaven crashes into a situation, transforming it with God’s purposes. Don’t cease striving until you witness the invisible Kingdom made visible through changed hearts, healed bodies, restored relationships, justice rolling down – the list goes on!

Intercessory prayer bears immense spiritual responsibility with eternal impact. But take heart – you never approach this task alone. The Holy Spirit guides you moment by moment how to pray, when to pray, what scriptures to claim, and what declarations to make over people/places.

You simply say YES to His intercession flowing through you. When you yield yourself fully with relentless obedience, a miraculous breakthrough follows!

How can Intercessory Prayer Help in Finding Solace and Peace in a Chaotic World?

Intercessory prayer can be one of the most powerful ways to find solace in a chaotic world. By praying on behalf of others, we can find peace in knowing that we are actively seeking help from a higher power for those in need, which can bring comfort and solace to our own hearts.

Defining The Key Differences Between Prayer And Intercessory Prayer

We’ve covered quite a bit about prayer versus intercession! Now let’s clarify the main differences between these two powerful ways of connecting with God:

Different Primary Focus

The core difference lies in focus. Prayer focuses primarily on your relationship with God. You talk to Him about your own life, blessings, struggles – it’s centered on your walk with Him.

Intercessory prayer spotlights OTHERS. You leverage your intimate connection with God to passionately plead for His intervention in other people’s lives and situations.

Yes, you still develop your fellowship with God through intercession. But the prayers target catalyzing His Kingdom rather than just your growth.

Different Levels Of Spiritual Intensity

Typically prayer maintains a milder, more laid-back spiritual intensity. You talk to God conversationally about a range of lighter to deeper topics. The atmosphere stays moderately peaceful.

Intercession requires diving into intense spiritual warfare. These are urgent, violent prayers that storm the gates of Heaven demanding God’s will be done. You’re taking authority over demonic influences and battling for a breakthrough.

Picture prayer as a child crawling onto her father’s lap to chat about her day. Then envision intercession as a skilled military leader leading strategic strikes against enemy forces – it’s just more spiritually vigorous.

Different Results

In one sense both prayer and intercessory prayer produce the same result: deepening intimacy with God. Consistently communicating with Him through either form cultivates your relationship.

The divergence emerges in outward fruit. Regular prayer branches inward, spiritually nourishing your soul. It’s like eating healthy food that sustains your body’s life.

Intercessory prayer branches outward to impact OTHERS. Your prayers usher Heaven itself into people/places/situations, doing everything from healing terminal diseases to reconciling broken relationships to sparking societal reform.

Time To Pray AND Intercede!

I hope this deep dive clarified exactly how conversational prayer and intense intercessory prayer differ – as well as why both hold immense value for every believer!

Prayer is your lifeline to personally connect with God, pouring out your heart and listening to His in return. Like a child cuddling in her father’s lap, prayer cradles your soul.

Intercession prayer unleashes God’s purposes into the world around you. The Holy Spirit prays through you to completely transform people, regions, and nations!

So nurture your friendship with God through consistent prayer while also yielding yourself to His intercession flowing through you.

You now hold the keys to powerfully influencing eternal destinies through prayer AND world-changing intercession! Unlock their potential today!